Richard pitches surging Padres past Cardinals 3-2

Associated Press Modified: September 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm •  Published: September 12, 2012

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Kyle Lohse and the St. Louis Cardinals would normally look forward to facing San Diego.

But after the Padres manhandled the playoff-hopeful Cardinals, the defending World Series champs couldn't wait to get out of town.

Clayton Richard pitched seven strong innings and rookie Yasmani Grandal singled home the go-ahead run to lift San Diego over St. Louis 3-2 on Wednesday, handing the slumping Cardinals their 11th loss in 15 games.

The Cardinals remained a game ahead of the Dodgers for the second NL wild card after Los Angeles lost 3-2 at Arizona later Wednesday. The Dodgers host St. Louis in a crucial four-game series starting Thursday night.

San Diego (69-75) has an NL-best 17-5 record since Aug. 19 to creep within 6½ games of the Cardinals with five teams in between.

"It's a long season and you don't know what's going to happen," Grandal said. "Right now we're 6½ games back in the wild card. Baseball is a crazy sport."

Logan Forsythe hit a solo home run for the Padres, who completed a three-game sweep of St. Louis for the first time since August 1995. The Padres have won 21 of their last 27 at home.

"I take it personally as a compliment to our players that we're able to do that," San Diego manager Bud Black said.

The Cardinals own a commanding 262-181 lead in the overall series with the Padres, including a winning record in San Diego. But for this three-game set, St. Louis had no answers.

"We can't depend on the other teams to keep losing," Lohse said. "We have to take care of our own business. We have a big series coming up."

St. Louis put a runner on third with one out in the ninth but was unable to score. World Series MVP David Freese and pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker both grounded out.

Richard (13-12) outpitched Lohse and gave up only three hits, including a two-run homer by Matt Carpenter that tied the game at 2 in the sixth. The left-hander struck out five, walked one and hit a batter with a pitch.

Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his seventh save, working around a leadoff double by Allen Craig. After pinch-runner Adron Chambers was sacrificed to third, Gregerson got Freese on a grounder to third before walking pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran. Gregerson then retired Schumaker on an easy grounder to first base to end the game.

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